Chapter FIVE

Three pages left of chapter five! I am wildly excited for chapter six, one of my favourite chapters. Lots of good pictures of boats and islands and fruit bats and other good things. And it goes on for 18 pages!

I have been keeping busy not only drawing chapter five but also carving whales for a mobile and experimenting some with water colors on scratch board. I am sure one can maste the technique, but I have a bit to go. I started out wanting to do the cover page, so this is an expermient to see if water colors could be integrated into it.

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Here I have spent hours trying to paint the sky, which proved to be a challenge. I wanted a smooth, blue sky, with the color tapering from dark blue at the top to light blue by the horizon. Did not quite happen. Then I scratched away all that was to be the sea, leaving only parts of the hull of the boat. The effect was rather cool, I imagine it is a boat frozen in the ice, a black, down-rigged hull under an Arctic sky.

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Here is the finished drawing/painting, scanned.

I’m going back to work tomorrow, hoping that Göteborg is better at the whole summer thing than Stockholm seem to be, where we have ice cold rain, gale force winds and 10 degrees (50 f). More pictures to follow when I finish chapter five.

Update

An update of what is going on with this project at the moment:

If inactivity rules here on this blog, luckily that is not the case with the comic itself. I am working on it on a daily basis, some times for a few hours, some times for the entire day and/or night.

– I am redoing the text of the early pages, up to page 12 when I eatablished a method and standard that I liked (write on paper instead of directly on the panel, with a spacing of 3,5 mm).

Revisiting the earliest pages is weird. I drew them in the winter of 2012 in Portland, Maine while living on a frozen schooner and in Wilmington, Delaware while working on the Kalmar Nyckel. It is clear that I put a ton of hours into the panels, yet they lack a feeling of flow and consistency. I hadn’t estblished some standardizations that I later adapted. I am contemplating redoing parts of those pages, but then again, I am contemplating just leaving them as they are, in fear of creating a perpetual motion machine of this comic. Kind of like the maintenance of the Golden Gate bridge, once you’re done the places you started with are so bad that you have to start over again. The strive here is not for perfection, but to keep going, keep evolving, and to one day be finished.

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A panel from page 3 with the old text, written directly on the panel

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One of about 500 reasons why scratchboard is an incredible medium. Preprations for the new text

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The finished panel with the new text.

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Detail of a panel from page 5, showing me being upset about something. Not the best of examples, but it’s still clear that I haven’t quite gotten the hang of the technique. I ended up simplifying the way I draw eyes, here they are more detailed, with the “line” under the eye still there. I drop that most of the time now. The lines are finer and were more often scratched than corrected with pen later on.

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Yet again not the best of examples (I just picked from the originals I happen to have at hand at the moment), another detail of panel showing me being upset about something, page 45 this time. Imagine how I’ll feel about all of this when I’m done with page 266… Anyway, while I still have miles to go, it is flowing better now. Less stiff, more fluent, simplified.

– I am in touch with publishers. They are very slow responders but from the little contact I have had with them they seem enthusiastic and interested. I plan on publishing the story in two parts. Because of this all focus, practical and mental, is on part one. When I sign a contract with a publisher I will reveal the real name for this comic (which is not, in fact, “the scratchboard comic project”. Sorry for not coming up with a better project name.)

– I am drawing the damn thing! It flows better and better for me with routines for layout and drawings and all of that. Minor changes are being made to the script and page layouts, but at large I remian faithful to the sketches. I’ll probably end up cutting out about 7 pages from part one, which I am excited about. The day I can claim to be halfway done is creeping closer, and I look forward to it.

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Detail from a very ambitious tree from the current page, page 46. I’m trying to crack the code for drawing foliage. Not there yet, but also not too far away. Drawing trees and leaves is like drawing a labyrinth. I can’t quite explain why it feels that way.

Current page count: 46 of 266